Health Research Methodology

Course content

The course introduces the principal theoretical and methodological approaches used in global health research; with a focus on research design, project development and execution. The aim is to develop the ability of the student to critically assess and apply the appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative research method(s) for addressing specific research questions in global health, while at the same time respecting international and national regulations, declarations and ethics in global health research.

The course addresses mixed methods research in terms of the rational for use as well as basic study designs for integrating qualitative and quantitative research approaches in global health studies.

Teaching in quantitative methods will build on the student’s pre-requisite knowledge of the basic principles of statistics and epidemiology. The course will cover general study designs and methods for primary and secondary data collection - including definition of variables; target populations; sampling; and sample size calculation. Central issues on data management, analyses and validation are also addressed during the course.

Teaching in qualitative methods will build on the student’s pre-requisite knowledge of the basic characteristics and methods of qualitative research and provide insight into different study methodologies and approaches, e.g. ethnography and phenomenology. The course covers theoretical and analytical conceptualization of qualitative research, development of research tools and introduction to different approaches to analysis and application or development of theory.

Selected types of literature review will be covered. Specifically, the basic methodological approach to systematic reviews of health interventions is introduced, including frameworks for identifying research questions (e.g. PICO) and data synthesis (including meta-analysis) as well as tools for critical assessment of the reviewed studies and for grading the certainty of evidence (e.g. GRADE).

In addition, the course covers the basic principles and statutes on research ethics addressing the considerations and challenges of ensuring good research practice at each of the main steps of the research process.

The course will present an opportunity to work in cross-disciplinary project teams and consciously develop skills in maintaining an effective team work process. In an integrated approach, the students will develop their competencies in constructive research communication and in providing formative feedback to team members and other peers.


MSc Programme in Global Health - compulsory

Learning outcome


On completion of the course, the students should be able to:

  • Explain and discuss the theoretical basis for qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods research

  • Identify and discuss the concept and role of pre-understanding in research

  • Identify relevant research questions in global health

  • Demonstrate knowledge of general concepts, ethical considerations and methods used when addressing research problems

  • Demonstrate knowledge of important steps and processes in developing a research proposal and of central quality criteria in qualitative and quantitative research.



On completion of the course, the students should be able to:

  • Design a feasible and ethical research study in global health

  • Determine research questions and objectives

  • Select appropriate research method(s)

  • Plan, collect, manage and analyse qualitative and quantitative health related research data and materials

  • Ensure respect for and protection of human research subjects

  • Address study limitations and interpret and communicate research findings

  • Contribute constructively to peer-review.



On completion of the course, the students should be able to:

  • Critically evaluate, validate and discuss existing scientific literature and data

  • Differentiate between various research study designs and methods

  • Carry out and coordinate scientifically valid research

  • Increase knowledge in particular problem areas or issues of global health

  • Contribute to a constructive and effective team process within an international environment

  • Based on the knowledge and skills above, to demonstrate competence in open and constructive communication in the team work process and in provision and reception of feedback from peers and academic staff.

The teaching methods will include a combination of formal lectures, class and team exercises, online quizzes as well as problem-based learning, using research-based case studies.

Primarily research articles and chapters from selected methodology books

For credit transfer students:
If you are applying for the course as a credit transfer student,
you must document knowledge and skills within qualitative and quantitative methodology, based on relevant course activity, research and/or work experience, as part of your application.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
2,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
On-site written exam
Type of assessment details
Course certificate: an online test which is mandatory to pass before being allowed to proceed to the final exam (exam 2). The online test will be taken via Absalon. The test may combine multiple choice questions and open questions.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

The online test will take place during the course period.


Agreed separately with the course leader, but no later than week 5 of the course.

Criteria for exam assessment

To pass the online test the student should be able to:


  • Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental principles, methods and procedures of qualitative and quantitative research methodology
  • Describe the basic measures of interest in quantitative research e.g. probabilities, prevalence, incidence, and risk estimates
  • Demonstrate familiarity with basic concepts in qualitative research e.g. transparency, reflexivity, pre-understanding and iterative approaches.



  • Evaluate the suitability and appropriateness of different study designs for different research objectives, settings and research participants.



  • Discuss the strengths and limitations of quantitative versus qualitative research methodologies.

Type of assessment
Written assignment, 7 days
Type of assessment details
The length of the written take-home assignment (research proposal) must be 8 pages (19,200 keystrokes i.e. 2,400 keystrokes per page), excl. cover page, list of contents, list of references and appendices.
Exam registration requirements

Passed online test (SGLK20001E) as described above.

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner
Exam period

See the exam schedule


See the exam schedule

Criteria for exam assessment

To achieve the maximum grade 12, the student should be able to:


  • Identify and discuss the theoretical basis for research, and relevant research problems based on a critical evaluation of own pre-understanding, available scientific literature and data within the field of global health. This includes the evaluation of systematic reviews with an emphasis on health interventions of global health relevance.



  • Formulate specific research questions and objectives to be addressed within the framework of a mixed methods research project
  • Determine appropriate study designs and critically discuss relevant quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis methods that align with these designs.



  • Apply knowledge of general concepts for ensuring good academic and research practices including the key concept in research ethics.
  • Synthesise all of the above into a coherent research proposal adhering to the conventional structures of research literature.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 33
  • Preparation
  • 68
  • Exercises
  • 28
  • Study Groups
  • 20
  • Exam
  • 57
  • English
  • 206


Course number
See exam description
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 1
See syllabus
44 participants. 4 slots are allocated for credit transfer students.
The Study Board for Public Health Science and Global Health
Contracting department
  • Department of Public Health
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Karin Linda Schiøler   (4-737b6b70487b7d766c36737d366c73)
    Chief responsibility
Saved on the 04-04-2024

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